There aren’t many amenities in Fairview Park so the council wants to put in a new tearoom, and turn an old toilet into a community space, said Bernard Brady, a senior executive in the parks department.
“In the heart of Fairview village,” said Brady to councillors, at a meeting of their North Central Area committee on Monday. “It’s just on the edge of the park.”
The tearoom would have seats inside for about 80 people and some extras outside too, he said. There would be a garden and cycle parking.
Who’ll use it? “Locals in Fairview park and cyclists,” Brady said. “It’s well placed for cyclists.”
It would be next to one leg of the proposed Dublin Bay Greenway, facing Annesley Bridge Road and close to the Fairview Park playground.
That’s where the original entrance to the park was planned in an unrealised 1920s masterplan by Dublin City Council, the council report on the proposed tearoom says
Overall, councillors seemed happy with the idea. But Labour Party Councillor Jane Horgan Jones did ask deeper questions about one other part of the plan: an enclave set aside for 15 to 20 car-parking spaces to one side.
“So those cars will be crossing the cycleway?” she asked.
Brady said that would be designed around. “It hasn’t been designed yet.”
Horgan Jones said she would want to know what the benefits were of those car-parking spaces, given the possible impact on the cycleway.
Builders of roughly 150 homes on Malahide Road in Ayrfield in the north of the city expect to go onsite later this month, or early next month, said James Nolan, executive engineer with Dublin City Council.
The homes are part of the first bundle of social homes to be built under a post-crash plan for public-private partnerships (PPP) first announced in 2015. The current finish date is at the end of 2020.
A similar PPP scheme for 70 social homes in Scribblestown, to be built by the same consortium, Comhar Housing – made up of Macquarie Corporate Holdings, Sisk, Choice Housing, and Oaklee Housing – is due to start construction soon, too.
At Monday’s meeting of the North Central Area committee, Solidarity Councillor Michael O’Brien asked about employment practices on the Ayrfield site. Would there be a requirement that a certain percentage of people working on site be from the local area? he asked.
“So, we’re required to provide 5 percent over the 24 month-period of the contract,” said Brian Clarke, the contracts manager for Sisk. So they’ve put that into the subcontractor packages.
“Five percent of the local employment?” said Fianna Fáil Councillor Deirdre Heney.
No, from the live register, said Clarke.
What about employment practices? O’Brien asked. Would there be bogus self-employment? “It has been recorded a problem on various […] sites, including on sites that are Dublin City Council projects,” he said, pointing to social housing built in Dolphin’s Barn.
Clarke said that most of the subcontractors they use are big companies, so they wouldn’t be self-employed. “We don’t generally use self-employed contractors,” he said. He didn’t mention what its subcontractors might do.
Homes at Millwood Court
Councillors said they wanted to push back a decision on whether or not to “dispose of” – the council jargon for selling or handing over ownership of – a housing complex at Millwood Court, north of Edenmore Park.
Housing Manager Brendan Kenny wants to give it to Fold, an approved housing body (AHB), to demolish and rebuild, and own and manage.
At the moment there are 41 homes in the complex, mainly bedsits, the report says. The idea is to rebuild with one-bed apartments for senior citizens.
“We could redevelop the complex ourselves, but with the major housing programme and other regeneration projects on our books, it means that Millwood and other similar complexes in need of regeneration would have to join a long queue,” the report said.
There are too many things councillors don’t know right now, said Sinn Féin Councillor Micheál Mac Donncha: what the designs would look like, and how many homes would go there, for example.
Some councillors were concerned that if they voted the project through now, they’d have very little say in what happens later.
Labour’s Alison Gilliland says she knows the council’s intention with projects such as this is to get more homes on each footprint by building higher. “So you have a direct impact on those two-storey normal residences [next door],” she says. She said she just wanted to see indicative plans with height, orientation and density.
Gilliland said she was also worried about the note that the development has to be done and occupied within 36 months of the transfer of the title: “We have some very bad examples of such a clause not being upheld.” (There’s a particular derelict building in Dolphin’s Barn, for example.)
Council officials answered some of councillors’ questions at the meeting. Area Housing Manager Derek Farrell said the council expects somewhere between 40 and 50 homes on the site, and talked in more detail about how tenants would be moved in and out.
But councillors said they still wanted to see more-detailed plans before they’d agree to press ahead. “My biggest question is question number one: where is the plan?” said Mac Donncha.